Skip to main content

tv   Tavis Smiley  PBS  September 23, 2010 1:00pm-1:30pm PST

2:00 pm
tavis: good evening, tonight a conversation with philip seymour hoffman. having established himself as one of the best working actors, he has turned his attention to directing with his new project "check goes bowling." his thoughts on other subjects including business and broadway. we are glad you have joined us. a conversation with philip seymour hoffman. >> i am james. >> yes. >> to everyone making a difference, you help us all live better. >> nationwide insurance proudly supports tavis smiley. tavis and nationwide insurance, working to improve financial literacy and the economic
2:01 pm
empowerment that comes with it. your side ♪ >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. [captioning made possible by kcet public television] >> for more information on today's show, visit tavis smiley at tavis: always pleased to welcome philip seymour hoffman to this program. he has established himself as one of the best of his generation. his latest project is called "jack goes bowling." also directs and produces it. here now is a scene from the movie.
2:02 pm
>> [inaudible] >> i am almost getting there. >> may be a little good night kiss? >> maybe. >> nothing overwhelming. >> ok. >> good night. it is your directorial debut of a film. we have a monitor in the studio. i saw you look at it. you looked away. what do you think of your work? >> it is funny. i have been watching it for a
2:03 pm
long time. lots of things become an obsession but when you are directing something you are there for a long time. every time you look at it you think maybe i should have cut away earlier. is that too long. because it is actually find. tavis: you are a bold brother because you decided to direct philip seymour hoffman. >> no good. you are one of four main characters on screen for a significant amount of time. >> i blame john ortiz. my partner in crime. we have been working together for a long time.
2:04 pm
we were directors of this theater company for this play. when they showed interest in making it into a film john said you should direct it. directed and acted in it. i said i will not do that. he said you will do that. for months he is like you are going to do that. i think i finally convinced him i was not going to do both, but it was very tough to find somebody. everyone knew i did it as a play. it basically became a situation where i kind of had to do it. directing is not fun. i have a lot of fun doing this job, but the scrutiny of directing yourself is not right. tavis: if you had to do it over again -- i know you love the
2:05 pm
peace, but would you direct philip seymour hoffman again in your directorial debut? >> in this piece, yes because it worked out well. but i will not put myself in that position again if i don't have to. tavis: unles ortiz says he will. >> i enjoyed so much. i enjoyed waking up in the morning and directing a movie so much. . these people would be there and i would get a chance to collaborate with these people was so pleasurable that i want to have that from the beginning of the day to the end of the day.
2:06 pm
to break it up with acting is tough because that is a different world. hopefully next time i will just get to enjoy that experience. tavis: you do understand the way this business works. you may not have all the people you want. that may not be as pleasurable. >> i was spoiled on this one. the people have a lot to do with that. i was pretty spoiled. tavis: give me the story line. >> it is a very simple story. it is about these two good friends. these guys are limo driver's together. john is married to daphne's character. daphne works at a funeral home and there is a woman who works with her.
2:07 pm
they set connie and jack up. the movie is about these two middle-aged people who have found the right person. that is what is different. they meet on this first date and as awful as it is they realize that i think i met that person. in it is a tale of are you going to accept that? what they go through in order to help each other move toward each other. while there is a parallel tell of this married couple that is helping these -- you begin to see the >> in their relationship. it is a very simple tale but if it is about a big thing. in order for something to be born something has to die.
2:08 pm
there is something about that i find it to be true. id is a natural thing. this movie plays around with that idea. tavis: i am fascinated by the way you phrased it. you said that this first day it goes so horribly, but does not mean this is not the person for you. what is there for a middle-aged person to learn? >> the fact that the date did not go well might be the reason -- the energy created -- you will see when they first meet the energy created between those two is powerful. it brings up all their inadequacies. you see them doing battle for
2:09 pm
the first time with those inadequacies because of something about that connection. that causes a lot of awkwardness. two people who are really courageous. >> how cool does it feel to direct something these days we're in is a wonderful love story and yet there are lessons weaved throughout this where we can wrestle with things that may expand our ideas, and you do this without proselytizing. >> that is a really great question. i think good art deals with the micro to explain the macro.
2:10 pm
there is something in the small my new show of life that tells us something about the big picture -- the small -- small minutia of life that tells us about the big picture. this is the tale which is, i need you, you need me and that is hard. that is kind of detail of all issues. you have these middle-aged working class people who need each other and that is hard. if it is such a simple thing. it explains a lot of things. the writer has that kind of mentality. he is a talented man. all of his screenplays have this
2:11 pm
sense of something bigger. tavis: not withstanding the fact that you chose this to be your directorial debut, your production company has done two films, "capote," not a bad way to start. >> all downhill. [laughter] tavis: what is your process for figuring out what works for you as a producer? >> emily ziff and sarah murphy and i -- we go with our gut. we have been together a long time and have a lot of different projects. the one thing that we are about is we like to work with artists. we like to develop material and be creative in the grove of a
2:12 pm
project. that is what we get the most satisfaction out of. the hard part is what will go. these have been the two pictures we have been involved in. now we are getting closer to other things. we spent a lot of time working with writers. developing material and the getting a director. we have that family do it together mentality. the tough part is what actually goes? tavis: how tortured a process is that in today's hollywood? >> tortured, a good word. the world is changing.
2:13 pm
people are not going to throw the kind of money at certain projects they used to. people are not going to throw the kind of money at certain people they used to. the offers that come in all for it to an actor to be in something or produce a film are not what they work. that is the struggle because it happens very quickly. it has happened slowly, but something more drastic has happened in the past few years. it is a torturous process because there is anxiety about committing to things that are the art film. this is where i think there is a silver lining. i think everyone wants to do it.
2:14 pm
i feel like all the people i meet -- i sense the same energy. everyone is suffering from the same predicament. everyone seems to be in the same situation of how? the funds will be from different places. but i do feel like the business will evolve in a different way because people want to do it. tavis: what is stopping them? >> i am not paid in this way, too. this is more of -- i feel like certain films are making money and a lot of the films that use to make money are not.
2:15 pm
with all the different ways you can see movies now, whether it is the internet for tv. i think new forms will come out of it. the movie -- the idea of making a film is turning into something else. there are these websites that family and i have looked into. 10 years ago, that is silly. they kind of energy that is going into these new ways of expressing yourself is fantastic. those are the things that are happening. why? i am just as naive as you are. there is not that feeling where you walk into a room and the
2:16 pm
money is there, it is more, we don't have it. tavis: you happen to wear both hats here. if it is frustrating for a producer to be tortured in that way by the process, how is an artist navigating that journey? >> that is what artists drive everyone crazy because they don't think about that. [laughter] it is even hard for me to get at. as an artist myself, you don't think about that stuff. you see what you want to do and why are they not helping me? they have that -- it is more of a torturous thing for them
2:17 pm
because we don't want this to happen. they are the ones that might throw in the towel. they want what they need to make what they have to make. the desire to make it was so strong. they are as obsessed with putting their creation out to the world. i have seen a lot of friends and it is a great project with great people involved and they cannot make it. these are people that 10 years ago could have. it is not that they will not get there, but it is harder. tavis: you are making me feel schizophrenic care. you suggested earlier that you
2:18 pm
are hopeful on the other side we will come out of this and the business will start to reflect some of the values that you are promulgating. but at the same time you have friends with getting this done. i am trying to juxtapose those two things. what makes you so hopeful? >> well, i was reading this thing the other day about theater. this quote, someone said what about off-broadway? they said there is no off broadway. i thought that is ridiculous. of course there is off broadway. i know a guy doing one out of his apartment right now.
2:19 pm
it is an exciting thing for them. it is still happening. i am not saying we are not going through a harder time, but the need to create something is stronger than the difficulties we are going through. either it will come out in a different way or we will see better times, but i don't think people will give up. tavis: you shared the line about there is no off broadway, i thought maybe this person is right. maybe there is no off broadway because if it cannot play on broadway, does it really exist? >> i was talking to your producer abound "our town."
2:20 pm
it has been running for the last 25 years it seems. it is running for about a year. it is one of the most beautiful things i have seen. then i saw al pacino in the park. i still see it. those are not broadway. they might end of moving to broadway, but i still think that is alive and well. i am still seeing those new place. it might be struggling, but it is still happening. i think it will keep happening. >> the desire for a is stronger than the difficulties. >> we talked about the producers and directors and the struggles of getting this made.
2:21 pm
the one element we have not brought up is the people who watch these place. i wonder whether it this struggle has anything to do with us. we the people who seem to have a lesser appreciation, not the appreciation we once had for the arts. is any of this our fault? >> -- tavis: you could blame hollywood. >> i think in new york and other places the economic situation is different. it has always been an expensive town, but is super expensive. that just change the face of the people who come to broadway. that is not a judgment on the
2:22 pm
people there, but it something is this much money to see, there are only certain things that will be in that theater. they will attract a certain kind of people. what i am saying is that trauma is still happening. it is made more difficult by the fact that it is more expensive. don't go there. that is really bleak. that is not true. that is not something worth putting out because that is not true. it is existing and struggling but it is there. i don't think it's because people don't want to see that. i think it is because of the
2:23 pm
economic situation. each theater is attracting certain kinds of people. >> it is probable. i assume the audience can see it. your absolute love and admiration for the theater, what are the chances that you just chuck this film thing and perform on stage? >> for this conversation i might not have to do it. i love both and that is why i use the theater analogy to explain this. ultimately i do think that there is still independent films being made. the way i was talking about off-
2:24 pm
broadway in the theater is the same passion i have for film. i would like to have both. one without the other seems more boring. tavis: why don't we all just go boating? [laughter] don't you ever take five years to come back and see me. five years i have been waiting for philip seymour hoffman to come back on this program. it is a wonderful film. it is called "jack goes bowling." good to have you on the program. that is our show on the weekendu can access our radio podcast at thanks for watching, keep the faith.
2:25 pm
>> i thought he wants to get out of there, so when i was alone with my dad i told him is ok to go. i told him i loved him and he was a great dad and he was free to go to heaven. two days later he woke up out of the coma. >> oh, god. >> for more information, visit tavis smiley at tavis: join me next time for a conversation a hugh laurie. that is next time. >> all i know is his name is james, and he needs extra help with his reading. >> i am james. >> yes. >> to everyone making a difference, you help us all live better. >> nationwide insurance proudly supports tavis smiley. tavis and nationwide insurance,
2:26 pm
working to improve financial literacy and the economic empowerment that comes with it. >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. [captioning made possible by kcet public television] captioning institute
2:27 pm
2:28 pm
2:29 pm


disc Borrow a DVD of this show
info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on